[News] Obama: Promises Made; Promises Unkept

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 4 11:52:37 EDT 2010


http://www.counterpunch.org/
June 4 - 6, 2010


One Year After Cairo


Obama's Speech: Promises Made; Promises Unkept

By ESAM AL-AMIN

One year ago President Barack Obama addressed the 
Muslim World from the University of Cairo.  The 
speech was magnanimous, humble, articulate and 
well received by most Muslims worldwide. It was 
strikingly different in rhetoric and tone from 
any speech ever given by former President George 
W. Bush. Obama  sought “to seek a new beginning 
between the United States and Muslims around the 
world”, emphatically declaring, “Islam is a part 
of America” and “is an important part of promoting peace.”

In that speech the President emphasized that one 
must be judged by his deeds and that “words alone 
cannot meet the needs of our people.” Some of the 
pledges he made regarding aid to Pakistan and 
Afghanistan have indeed been appropriated by 
Congress. Other commitments he announced with 
respect to the complete withdrawal from Iraq or 
cooperation with Muslim communities in the 
business, trade, and scientific and technological 
fields are supposedly underway.

But during the speech the US president expressed 
his frustration and complained that US policies 
are misunderstood by Muslims around the globe. He 
begged for more understanding and acceptance and 
pleaded that the “cycle of suspicion and discord must end.”

So on the anniversary of his most celebrated 
speech, how does Obama score on his most important declarations?

Part of the answer to the frustration of the 
American policy makers with regards to the battle 
to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the 
world may be found in the following report card. 
It lists ten political promises Obama made before 
the world, half of which directly relate to the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demonstrating 
whether or not his words matched his policies.

1. Issue Closing Guantanamo.

Obama’s Words

“I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

With mounting pressure from Congress and the 
extreme right, the administration backed down.

2. Issue: Israeli Settlements.

Obama’s Words

“This construction (of Israeli settlements) 
violates previous agreements and undermines 
efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

Twice last year Obama faced Netanyahu and twice 
the US president blinked in front of the Israeli prime minister.

3. Issue: Lifting Gaza’s Blockade.

Obama’s Words

“Israel must also live up to its obligations to 
ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and 
develop their society. And just as it devastates 
Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian 
crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

The administration even financed the construction 
of a sixty-foot underground steel barrier along 
the Egypt-Gaza border in order to tighten the 
siege on Gaza; it also recently shielded Israel 
in the UN after the flotilla massacre.

4. Issue: Human Rights and the Goldstone Report.

Obama’s Words

“We reject the same thing that people of all 
faiths reject:  the killing of innocent men, women, and children.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

Although the Goldstone Report concluded that 
Israel committed war crimes and killed 1400 
Palestinians during its invasion of Gaza (the 
overwhelming number of which was non-combatant 
civilians including hundreds of women and 
children), the Obama administration defended 
Israel in all international forums including the 
UN’s Security Council and Human Rights Commission.

5. Issue: Palestinian Elections Results.

Obama’s Words

"We will welcome all elected, peaceful 
governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people."

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

On the contrary, the US supports the unelected 
Palestinian Authority imposed on the Palestinian 
people in part by the US, as well as it trains 
and finances its security forces (under Gen. 
Dayton). According to human rights organizations, 
the PA has tortured hundreds and detained, 
without trial, over one thousand of its opponents in the last year alone.

6. Issue: Imposition.

Obama’s Words

No system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other.

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

The Israeli government did not like the results 
of the Palestinian elections favoring Hamas, and 
consequently imposed a crippling siege on Gaza, 
which the US has tacitly supported and defended 
in their attempt to undo the elections’ results.

7. Issue: Reconciliation Between the Palestinian Factions.

Obama’s Words

  “We will say in public what we say in private 
to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comments

In public the administration says that the 
ongoing dispute between the Palestinian factions 
is strictly a Palestinian affair; but in private 
it has vetoed and obstructed any reconciliation 
between Hamas and Fatah, pressured Egypt to 
continue its siege of Gaza, and threatened the PA 
with the withdrawal of all financial aid if it reconciles with Hamas.


8. Issue: Nuclear Weapons

Obama’s Words

“No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

While pressuring (NPT signatory) Iran and 
threatening to use crippling sanctions against 
it, the US ignores Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its refusal to sign the NPT.

9. Issue: Use of Drone attacks and killing of 
civilians in violation of the laws of sovereign nations.

Obama’s Words

“So America will defend itself respectful of the 
sovereignty of nations and the rule of law.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

Despite the countries' objections against the 
mounting civilian casualties, the drone attacks 
under Obama have tripled in Pakistan and 
Afghanistan, and expanded to other countries such 
as Yemen and Somalia, even to the point of 
targeting US citizens for execution (i.e., 
assassination) without due process of law.



10. Issue: Muslim Charities in the US

Obama’s Words

“In the United States, rules on charitable giving 
have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their 
religious obligation.  That's why I'm committed 
to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill Zakat.”

Promise

Not Kept.

Comment

No Muslim charity closed during the Bush 
administration has been re-opened or had its 
assets returned. The administration even defended 
the use of Bush’s illegal wiretapping against one 
charity in Oregon prompting a federal judge to 
rule against the government. The administration 
has failed so far to meet with any credible US 
Muslim group to address the issue of the closed 
charities or the unjust prosecution of their officers.

Final Score: Promises Made: 10, Promises Kept: 0.

Esam Al-Amin can be reached at: 
<mailto:alamin1919 at gmail.com>alamin1919 at gmail.com




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